Keira Knightley Says No To Digital Breast Enhancement

Is anyone “Perfect” enough? Kiera Knightley says no to digital enhancement

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

Keira Knightley has been pegged as a waifish “it” girl for her lean body and beautiful face. But even she has had to deal with people wanting to enhance her photos by changing her A-cup breasts to C-cups. She doesn’t feel that she needs cleavage to be sexy and has insisted that she be portrayed as she is despite the desires of those in charge of publicity for her new film, “Dutchess.”

‘She has insisted that her figure stay in its natural state,’ says a source.

‘She is proud of her body and doesn’t want it altered.’

We all must remember when Kate Winslet balked at her slim-down on GQs cover—claiming that they must have reduced her thighs by a third. She has refused later involvement with airbrushing and makes certain that others know it.

It’s rumored that every star—from Nicole Kidman to Mariah Carey gets the same treatment—thinned out, puffed up, brightened, buffed and shined (or made unshiny, as the case may be). I mean, is it really that bad to have pores? And aren’t we airbrushing them to the point that they barely look like themselves? I mean, let’s take a look at this shot of soulful singer, Diana Ross, 60, who is advertising MAC make-up– but maybe should simply be advertising the art of photo-shopping and retouching. MAC make-up may be good– but is it…that good?


Pictures: PA/MAC

I sometimes wonder what these celebrities think when they look at themselves on the covers of these magazines or on the posters promoting their movies. They know they don’t look like that. Do they wonder if they’ll ever be “good enough,” just like many of us do? Do they say to themselves; “I guess the real thing must look pretty bad for them to have to change my appearance this much!”

And if the most “perfect” seeming women are having parts erased, re-engineered, or reworked through the magic of photoshop, what are we really striving for? What is perfect? All our girls look at these magazines and say to themselves, “I want to look like her,” and yet, that person doesn’t exist.

In the following video, the photo retoucher says;

“When you talk about Hollywood types…they have personal retouchers that do this all day long. Not one picture is released without their permission. It’s just the way they want to be viewed by the world. They want to have this perfection…which isn’t possible.”

Many scoff and laugh when they see “real” photos of celebrities on the pages of gossip magazines. Pictures with highlighted cellulite, wrinkles, and bulges in all the “wrong” places?

Some celebrities are known to embrace their “flaws.” Are they really flaws—I mean, don’t we all have this stuff..which would make it…shall I say, normal? And without it, might I say, would actually be a flaw? But I digress.

“I am covered in stretch marks and celllulite but it doesn’t bother me at all. My body will never be the same again but I really don’t care,” Reese Witherspoon; New! Magazine.

“We all have cellulite. So do supermodels! I’ve been to the shows, and I go, ‘Stick figure has some cellulite!’ It’s nature. Without it, you’re not human.” Sandra Bullock, InStyle

So, where are we with all of this? Have the media gone too far with photo-shopping and retouching? Or, are we the culprits—always looking for perfection? If people didn’t laugh, point, or gossip when we saw real celebrity bodies on magazine covers, would we all be in a different place on this topic?

Your thoughts are welcome!


12 Responses

  1. Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon are to be commended to stand up for beauty!
    I hope that Keira Knightley is quoted often for her stand for natural beauty. I believe the first celebrity to put this idea out in the mainstream was Jamie Lee Curtis where she posed for a magazine with no make-up on and she was gorgeous! Naturally of course.

  2. Thank you, Dr. Lisa, for visiting! Great to have you here. Yes, I believe that Jamie Lee Curtis was one of the first to say “no” to the constant photo-shopping of every curve, bump, and bulge. We rely on these stars to speak up because it’s they who can make the biggest splash when it comes to these issues.

    I still wonder though, if everyone really wants to see the truth– would women miss looking at “perfect” if it wasn’t there? Even in this little photo shop video, the interviewer is “excited” to see what her body will look like through the lens of “perfect.” Would women feel great when “perfect” was taken away or would they simply look for a replacement?

    What do you think?

    Dr. Robyn

  3. I just left a comment for you on the BlogHer account of same, since we both seem to be covering this today! Here it is, responding to your ‘what ifs’ and truths:

    I’ll pick up your post and add it to my own on Shaping Youth, where the angle is more about the trickle down reverb on kids when even starpower is dissed for ‘digital enhancement’ creating a normative cue! (I’m also writing about this for World Breastfeeding week on Eco Child’s Play, about being an AA in a DD world…and how it’s impacting psyches to never see small-breasted women out there in the media AT ALL!)

    So hurray for Keira, I say we highlight her as an honoree for People Shaping Youth.

    I’ve been swamped working on our healthy avatar project in virtual worlds, so been a bit awol, apologies.
    Will get to your ‘tips’ post soon! 😉 best, Amy

  4. Yes, Amy– back at ya- I answered your comment as well.


    Dr. Robyn

  5. For those curious- my comment on blogher

    Are we photo-shopping the life out of

    We’ve been told over and over again that these stars and starlets are photo-shopped and yet, somehow, women are still striving for this nonexistant perfection. I always appreciate when stars say “no” to all the photo-shopping, after all, it’s their voice that seems to speak the loudest on this contraversy.

    But I have to wonder if women really want to see all the “perfection” erased. Standing in line at the grocery store, I’ve seen plenty of women pointing, laughing, and cringing at the gossip magazine pictures of stars and their cellulite– as they really are. Yes, we want to know that these stars are imperfect, just like the rest of us, but somehow, it seems, that we also like to see pictures of perfection– as if to say that if these stars look this way, then maybe we can too (not choosing to remember, in that moment, that the stars actually don’t look that way either).

    Dr. Robyn

  6. Amy’s comment on blogher:

    Keira Will Be An Honoree for Shaping Youth!

    As one who has a body type similar to Keira (I’m writing a piece for Eco Child’s Play this very moment called ‘Breastfeeding AA in a DD world” dispelling myths and insecurities for World Breastfeeding week) I think I’ve found a new star to honor to resurrect our People Shaping Youth section!!! (Danica McKellar was our first honoree, here for her ‘math doesn’t suck’ book

    Keira and others like her are heroes in my book, for championing change and putting themselves out there on personal topics…(Keira is also DYSLEXIC, not anorexic, btw, and she’s been very upfront with the fact that she wants to ‘prove’ to others that she’s smart, even though she had learning issues w/school)

    To me, we MUST keep looking at how this is all landing on kids.

    My own 13-year old daughter is quoted in the breastfeeding piece asking if I “ever wanted to get work done there,” and teased about how she’s “already bigger than I am”—yet when I pulled a Keira on her being perfectly satisfied with my (lack of) same she was a bit incredulous…

    Translation? “eww, if this is what happens to you when you bf, I’ll pass” —I could literally FEEL her thinking it. ugh. WRONG MESSAGE.

    THIS is why I’m championing change on the ECP blog this week with that very personal post…THIS is why I want to change the tides and ask our industry to fully support a star’s wishes…

    Get a better camera angle, if they’re so concerned about $$ perception! Don’t digitally alter a star against her own request!

    There are tons of slide shows of Keira UNaltered that were tastefully shot and gorgeous…(tho I’m curious if she’s purposely drawing attention to her smaller chest-size to be a cyclebreaker in her multitude of strapless gowns?)

    Dr. Robyn (above commenter) is our Shaping Youth body image
    correspondent, btw, and her response is authentic & interesting, for it relects the reality-based cruelty of a business out to
    sell and the consumers of same who have learned to deride/belittle in
    ‘Simon says’ style rather than uplift, embrace positive cyclebreakers
    like Keira.

    In fact, the Ugly Betty episode I just watched reflected this very issue, ‘wanting’ to show ‘real’ but then ‘fudging’ to make it palatable for the masses by ‘fixing the scale to add pounds’ as a PR stunt…Dialog went something like “designers don’t hire ‘real’ because it’s about the clothes, not the models, they’re just human hangers, they don’t want the distraction.” (a similar line was mentioned in Milan, actually, when I posted about the runway weigh-in controversy)

    Of course, in the show, Betty trumped all by recruiting real life humans to huge acclaim and paparazzi flash cams…but in reality? To Robyn’s point, just look at the Dove backlash on some of their ‘real people’ campaigns, with snarky comments even in the press) sigh.

    We have a long way to go, but Keira, Kate (Winslet), Jamie (Curtis) and others CAN help us get there, if industry would ‘let them.’ (again, its’ $$ and ‘what sells’) We need to support their efforts 200% if we ever want to see REAL change.

    Thanks, Claire and Magali for opening up the dialog with this Keira post…Important stuff…btw, here’s Shaping Youth’s category deconstructing ‘body image’ and its huge impact on kids:

    In hope and tenacity, –Amy

    Amy Jussel

    Founder/Exec. Dir.

  7. And my response:

    In Breasts We Trust

    Yes, Amy, thank you for the great points. This week, I’m having trouble keeping a straight face about all the hype around this topic given that both of us have been writing about Bucket Lists and the importance of making life meaningful.

    But, here we are and this indeed the topic. When looking deeper into photo-shopping, while I think we all know that it’s used everywhere, on nearly every picture, you would hope that it would mostly be used for improving lighting and maybe removing a zit or something like that. It’s a sad comment on our need for…what? Perfection? Symmetry? Inflated body parts?…when we need to alter EVERY picture. It’s like those stores that always have a half off sale– we always feel like we’re getting something better even when the it’s a complete hoax.

    As quoted in my recent blog post

    the guy from The Photoshop Effect said, “Not one picture is released without… permission.” We must really be insecure — we can’t all look that bad to have NOT A SINGLE picture that can go out without being puffed, buffed, shined, and shrunk to be considered beautiful.

    Yes, Amy– what does that say to the children? If Keira Knightly– hailed for her beauty– is not beautiful enough as she is…who is?

    We have a lot of work to do.

    –Dr. Robyn

  8. […] what does all this “photo retouching” say to our young people? Hmmmmmm.  Erase any signs of actually looking human!  […]

  9. […] we continue to discuss, photo retouching is the norm in a society that values flawlessness.  Even though they’re muttering “be […]

  10. […] it before. Media is riddled with it. Janice Dickenson scoffs at it. Tyra Banks yells about it. Keira Knightly and Kate Winslet are sick of media’s hand in it. It’s […]

  11. I’ve always thought that perhaps a magazine company should consider having a one-off edition of their mag, where ALL it’s images are NOT retouched in the slightest.

    I know for a fact that if I worked in the magazine-editing industry I would bring it forward!
    Just to show the consumers exactly what they’re being fooled by with airbrushing..

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